Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #49

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List

This is very, very straightforward. Oh and this is also from 3/28/2015, which is the day I wrote this post! I would like to thank everyone for making me add more and more books to my TBR. This TTT is dedicated to you guys. :P

City Of Savages by Lee Kelly - SAVAGES, SAVAGES, BARELY ONLY HUMAN. Okay I'll stop. Pretty sure I got this from Shannon's currently reading/read list or whatever. I don't even know what it's about (POCAHONTAS??) but I think she liked it. Or Wow I can't keep track of where these books came from ha. 

Rook by Sharon Cameron - FRANCEEEEE. FRANCEEEEEE. DYSTOPIAN FRANCE! Oh and got this from Shannon's TBR again ha.

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough - Romeo and Juliet? Aimee shared this on her WoW and I was intrigued.

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger - Faye and Aimee's little discussion review got me excited for this INDIAN DYSTOPIAN! I requested it on NG but the chances are slim. I HAVE FAITH.

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne - Just been seeing this around the blogosphere. And it is interesting. Politics. Ha. 

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand - Also another I've seen around, I'm pretty sure I was convinced by Cait to read this.

The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman - Requested this on NG without noticing the creepy teddy bear. Can't sleep now. 

Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt - Apparently this is a Princess and the Pea retelling...WITH CRIME. Requested from NG. I've already seen some reviews floating around though.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker - This used to be on my TBR, then I took it off, then Kelly convinced me to put it back on. 

Split Second by Kasie West - I finished Pivot Point recently and yes I do want to get to the sequel!

Yep, those are all the books! Any ones you recognize?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Nessie Reviews ☆ Redwall

Redwall by Brian Jacques
Redwall #1
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: October 4th, 2007
Source: Library
Date Read: 3/6/15 to 3/14/15
352 pages

Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of peace-loving mice is threatened by Cluny the Scourge - the evil-one-eyed rat warlord - and his battle-hardened horde of predators. Cluny is certain that Redwall will fall easily to his fearsome army but he hasn't bargained for the courage and strength of the combined forces of the Redwall mice and their loyal woodland friends.

I actually got a solid 15 books into this series when I was in middle school. And since I'm older and wiser I figured a re-read was in order. This book is every bit as awesome as I remember.

There is literally no reason for you not to read it. I love everything about it. There are adorable mice and woodland critters doing cute things that literally had me saying "aww" as I read. The plot is pretty simple. Redwall Abbey is the home of the peaceful monk mice and they take care of and live happily with the surrounding woodland critters. Then an evil rat called Cluny the Scourge shows up, decides he wants Redwall and begins a siege. The main character is Matthias, a young mouse who steps up and becomes the warrior that Redwall needs. However this is as much a story of the place and the other creature's relationship to and love of it, as much as it's about Matthias's hero journey. 

Also the women characters are awesome and important and diverse and just as important as the male characters. I love how there is Constance the Badger who is all muscle and stuff, but theres also Cornflower who spends most of her time in the kitchen cooking and taking care of Redwall while everyone is fighting, and Jess the Squirrel who is a mother but is still kicking ass. LIKE IT SHOWS THAT WOMEN CAN BE STRONG AND EVERYTHING NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO AND YASS. I really like that because while I do love strong female characters, I feel like people seem to think that a woman can only be strong if they are like Constance, on the front lines in the "man's" realm, but I love love LOVE how this shows that women can be strong and badass even when they are in traditional women roles. 

I loved all the characters and how unique they all were and the world building that went into it, and how well written it is. The only criticism I could see one making is that like the morality is so black and white--the villain is super evil and the good guys are obviously good--but I personally didn't find that to be a problem at all because 1) its a kids book 2) it's still so awesome.

So if you want to spend a few hours with ADORABLE anthropomorphic woodland critters, meet some of the most awesome characters, soak up some good writing, and just have a good read. DEFINITELY pick this up.

Vanessa is Val's bestest buddy, and she will be guest posting throughout because she loves to read and write. She loves video games, reading comic books, working out LIKE A BEAST and photography. You can also find her at her own blog, Musings of an Aspiring Writer.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #24

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Holly @ The Fox's Hideaway sent me a SURPRISE PACKAGE (but it wasn't a surprise haha) of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. THANK YOU SO MUCH HOLLY YOU ARE THE BEST. I'm super excited to read this and yes I will discuss it with you hahaha.

I think I would be lying if I said nothing happened this week. Well nothing I physically did happened, because I'm a lazy bum. And all I have is classes and work and ya know, boring stuff.

However, I do want to mention that I was awarded a lot of money to work in two labs this summer! And I'm really happy because I wasn't sure if I would actually get the research grant, BUT I DID GUYS. I DID.

On a sadder not, my parents just put their house on the market. And that makes me sad because EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE IS CHANGING. Sure I don't really live there anymore, but it's just weird to think about.

And that's all. On another note, Ollie the dog ate another one of my roommate's underwear. The same one she replaced from the last time he ate it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Source: Library
Date Read: 3/16/15 to 3/17/15
432 pages

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Please do not even ASK me what Grasshopper Jungle is about. I don't think ANY summary can do it justice because how do I even explain everything that is going on here? Look, I'll give you a one sentence summary:

Val's One Sentence Summary: 15 year old sexually confused boy ponders about his love with both his best friend and girlfriend while man-eating praying mantises and grasshoppers emerge by radioactivity, eating people and also populating the earth. 


The funny thing is that I actually went into this book knowing that things were going to get a little crazy, well a lot. Yet it didn't even start out that way at all. It started out very normal, and then I thought "Hey this is actually pretty normal". BUT NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.

Let's talk about the characters, I guess. Our narrator here is Austin, who as I said is in love with both Robby and Shann. Since this book is basically his thoughts, the writing style is a little unique. You see, Austin likes to think himself as a historian; he writes down everything that happened in his life, kind of like a journal but more of a way of keeping track of history. His train of thought starts at one point, then he goes back in time, then to the future, then back again to the present. It sounds confusing, but it's kind of easy to follow. It's like a spider web, spewing out all the information at once, and only later can you connect them all. It sounds complicated, but it is in fact pretty cool.

Also, teenage boys are weird. Is it true that all they think about is sex? That's kind of what I'm getting from this novel. Literally on every page, Austin either mentions:
  1. He's horny
  2. Something makes him horny
LIKE STOP. THIS IS SO AWKWARD. It's great that this book is so intimate with the journal-esque writing style, but it's just so weird to me! Maybe if I were a boy I would understand? (ew boys)

AND THEN THE HUMAN SIZED GRASSHOPPERS AND PRAYING MANTISES JUST BREAKING OUT OF INFECTED HUMANS LIKE THEY'RE SHELLS. I don't know what to do with this book. I really don't. And that ending, it was just, I don't even know what to expect anymore.

All I can say is that this is one messed up book. It's unique, weird, and I think I would've liked it more if I could relate but sadly I did not. 

Anyways, read this if you're looking for crazy.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Key to Appealing Writing? (Survey Results!)

Before I get into my post, I would like to thank everyone for helping me out! As some of you know, I posted a survey last Thursday on whether sentence structure (writing) plays a role in a book. AND I HAVE THE RESULTS! And they are interesting :)

Your Opinions, Thoughts, Other Comments

Although writing style is indeed important, we can't forget about the other things! Like the plot, the characters, your own experiences and how they relate to the story (someone mentioned Reader Response Theory), a combination of everything. Oh, don't forget the FEELS. 

Everyone agreed that the way sentences are worded can make a book more appealing! (Well someone said "Sometimes", which I'll count as a half yes). So it does seem like everyone at least notices the way sentences are written and structured.

Now The Hard Part, The Analyses

There were a lot of quotes. A lot. What surprised me was how many long quotes there were. 

Basically, what I did was look through all the quotes for a similarity. What I did not expect, was to actually find one. See if you can spot it:

From Young Adult:
"But what she didn't realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were of her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn't all-encompassing, that wasn't blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she'd had this kind, she didn't want the other." - Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Maggie Stiefvater

To Classics:
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” - The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

Even to this short little quote here:
“I am a badass, and I recognize that you, too, are a badass.” - City of Bones, Cassandra Clare

The Results!

I FOUND that all of these quotes all share one similarity in syntax, and that is the use of dependent clauses. For example, I will show you in my Grasshopper Jungle quote I posted last week.
Robby and I were the gods of concrete rivers, and history does prove to us that wherever boys ride bicycles, paved roadways ribbon along afterward like intestinal tapeworms.

These bolded clauses cannot stand on their own, hence "dependent". There are two dependent clauses above in the quote. I don't even want to COUNT how many are in the previous quotes!

 Ok Val, Now What Does This All Mean?

Well, other than the fact that this may have been obvious to some people (Just let me have my moment anyway), and that this means I'll have a nice, non-frustrating paper to write, the bottom line is that it looks like writing styles lean towards using TONS of dependent clauses. 

Compare these two similar sentences (featuring Ollie the dog):
  1. Ollie leapt onto the couch, cuddling up to my side as I slept.
  2. Ollie leapt onto the couch and cuddled up to my side as I slept.
Do you prefer one or the other? Why? I have my predictions but I think it would make my paper stronger if I had genuine proof.

Also, another important point to make is our speech. When was the last time you spoke like you wrote? Do you randomly insert clauses here and there?

To Conclude

Of course, I also think that word choice and rhythm (and all the other things I mentioned in the beginning) play a part as well, but since this is a paper for Linguistics class, I have to talk about sentence structure (I know isn't that so sad? Just kidding). Of course I still have more technical stuff to research regarding this, blegh. But I do think that the use of dependent clauses make writing more appealing. 

To further strengthen my paper, I am currently looking at literature in Chinese and French. Maybe this isn't just an English thing, which would be cool. Or maybe it is ONLY an English thing! (Highly doubtful but still). 

To conclude, I really want your opinions about this! Or anything! Also please keep in mind I'm not telling you how to write (HA because I know nothing), this is for my Linguistics paper (which is due in a month) and I REALLY WANT TO GET AN A. That is my only goal in life. In other words I'm not an expert in writing (I don't even write fiction) but this is the topic I choose for my class!

Thanks for helping out with my paper! This was actually pretty fun! Feel free to comment, criticize, discuss!

Maybe I should do more surveys (not academics related). Ha

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Seeker

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
Seeker #1
Publisher: Delacorte for Young Readers
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 3/9/15 to 3/12/15
448 pages

Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

2 stars is generous, and that's saying something coming from me.

Do you know what kind of sucks about Seeker? It's that the publisher really pushed this, in that the very first thing I read was a letter from the publisher saying that "this was going to be the next big thing". Well, I'm sad to say that no, it is not the next best thing.

Let's see here. The story is split between three POVs, Quin, John, and Shinobu. Basically, we start off with all of them training together to become Seekers, then Quin's father tests all of them to see if they are worthy for the title. Then, he purposely fails John because he hates his family and doesn't want him to rise again, and this leads to rage on John's part. And then everything falls apart after that. Of course, Quin and Shinobu go on to get their Seeker....uh...ship, and it turns out to be a bad thing because everything was kept hush hush until the actual initiation.

And even then I had no idea what being a Seeker meant.

No, I seriously don't know what is happening in this book. Everything is just scattered, and it's like we're in the author's world, and she's expecting us to know everything already. NO YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN. I don't know what Seekers do! I don't know what There is! I don't know! I don't know! 

And then there's this whole love triangle that I just didn't want to have to deal with because I don't even know what's happening in the first place. 

Wait, why am I giving this 2 stars? I would say because, oh I don't know. I guess there's a lot of action, especially towards the end. Though seriously, this is one fast-paced, goldfish-brained book. And, in my opinion, poorly executed. 

Final thoughts: This is not the next big thing.

Also I think this is the harshest review I've written since the summer. Uh oh. (I'm sorry I'm not usually like this I just accidentally let myself go)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #48

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit!

I read a ton of books when I was a youngin', and yes, I would love to revisit them all because I barely remember the plot, or what made me love that specific book so much. BUT THEN AGAIN, I don't want to ruin the magic. So maybe I will revisit them in theory.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - Only my favorite childhood book of all time so of course it's going to be on the list. I also want to reread the entire trilogy, because I kind of didn't finish the last book in this series. 

Matilda by Roald Dahl - I love this book, I love the movie, I wouldn't mind revisiting this at all because I know that it will still be amazing. Because Matilda.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell - I'm pretty sure I had to read this for summer reading in elementary school, but I absolutely loved it. Do I remember it? No. No I do not. But dolphins.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli - I'm actually very surprised that there is a sequel to this. The ending for Stargirl, at least I remember, really saddened me, so maybe I'll check out that second book.

Frindle by Andrew Clements - THIS BOOK. I think I read everything by Andrew Clements because they were just so fun. Like renaming a pen "frindle".

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen - I also reread this book numerous times throughout my childhood, this and Flush. Now that I think about it, Flush was more of a favorite.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine - So I kind of remember what happened, I know that it's about the plague, but it also involved magic and fairies?  

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce - I READ EVERYTHING BY TAMORA PIERCE. Mostly everything haha. But I've been meaning to reread this series, because Alanna is awesome. The cover? Not so much.

Half Magic by Edward Eager - I remember the cover and the illustrations, but nothing about this book. Just that I saw it, every day, in elementary school. It haunts me.

Socks by Beverly Cleary - CATS. SOCKS. EVERYTHING I LOVE IN LIFE. Anyways, I love Beverly Cleary was also another author I read a lot from in my elementary school years.

I read a billion books in elementary school, even while the teacher was talking, ha. Any childhood books you would like to revisit?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Written in Red

Written in Red by Anne Bishop
The Others #1
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Release Date: April 5th, 2013
Source: Library
Date Read: 2/28/15 to 3/6/15
433 pages

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Where has this book been all my life? WHERE? Of course I love Written in Red now, but I know if I was still a young teenager, I would've adored it. Like more so than now. I would have definitely let go all the minor things here and there.

Where to start. Oh right, I have to thank everyone that pushed me to read this series, Paula, Faye, where would I be without you guys? I will gladly join the waiting club for the next book, even though I haven't read the second or third one yet. (Ok maybe not gladly, but you know what I mean).

Before I get into the plot and characters, I think it's important to discuss me, well mostly my reading tastes. As I said before, I loved paranormal YA when I was younger. I was obsessed with The Mediator series by Meg Cabot. I loved plots where the main character had some sort of power while everyone else didn't. Although my tastes have matured a bit, Written in Red still hit all of my favorite tropes. 

Our main character, Meg Corbyn, is a blood prophet in that she can predict the future when she's cut. As she runs away from her owner, she stumbles upon The Courtyard, which is run by THE OTHERS (Thee Odders *cue Lost theme* hahahah). Since the Others, the terra idigne, are considered superior to humans because they can shift to their animal skin, The Courtyard does not follow human law. This is why Meg seeks employment there, because she at least knows that no one can touch her on their property.

And thennnnnnn she meets Simon! The wolf terra indigne. And then everything is great. I love where this slow burn romance is going, even though nothing has happened yet in this book. I'm just glad that it's NOT a fast developing relationship. The Courtyard, and everything relating to The Others, is very well developed and executed. The most surprising part was that I had no trouble with all the characters, probably because it had to do with animals (and everyone knows I love animals).

Not amused
On the downside, I'm not sure how I feel about how everyone loves Meg and how she gets out of bad situations easily. This is weird for me to admit, because I often hate characters that create problems for themselves by being reckless or being naive. Yet, I actually expected Meg to mess up much more than she did, or get into more trouble for crossing the line. But this rarely happened. Either I'm too used to what should happen in YA, or I think that Meg's naivety should've warranted for more mess ups.

Overall, I WILL CONTINUE THE SERIES. In this case, I think the pros outweigh the cons, and I am very happy that this book satisfied by teenage self!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #23

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I'm finally going to read I'll Meet You There, which I've heard such amazing things about. And plus I'm sure there's more than one of you that want me to read it.

I also borrowed Messenger of Fear. I haven't read many reviews for it, but I like how it sounds so hopefully it doesn't disappoint.

And then, there's Sleepaway Girls, recommended to me by Lola for my fluffy read of the week. My review for it is already up, and although I found it fun to read, I don't think I'm the target audience (Ha 15 year olds)

Oh boy, Grasshopper Jungle. Guys, this books is INSANE, as in crazy "what the heck is happening". My review for that will be up soon, and I think it is something to look forward to. Ha.

To be honest, I didn't know how disturbing The Last Good Day of the Year was actually, so I have no idea how that is going to turn out. I may cry. From fear. 

Absolutely nothing has happened! I have literally slept my life away! Even though I have been going to class and work and EVEN THEN I'm still sleeping. For some reason this jetlag is lasting longer than I thought it would. Or it's just me and my laziness.

I'm just happy that it's going to be spring....soon. Ha

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: Sleepaway Girls

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
Whispering Pines #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Readers
Release Date: May 1st, 2009
Source: Library
Date Read: 3/17/15 to 3/19/15
297 pages

When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores.

If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam - they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Contemporary Conversations

Sleepaway Girls was a fun, but sometimes embarrassing read. I have to admit, even though I was most definitely not the target audience, I still somewhat enjoyed this fast read. Plus, I always wanted to go to sleep away camp, but instead I was stuck with computer camp, speech camp (???), and yeah. But hey I did go to the outdoors YMCA camp! So even though I have no idea what it means to be a counselor, I think that's the closest I can get.

Whispering Pines is a camp in Upstate New York, and it's apparently amazing. There are a number of counselors, and counselors in training, which is what our main character, Sam, has become. Sam has never attended Whispering Pines before, so she feels so out of place. Plus she doesn't want to be recognized for a commercial she had to do for her mom's company, because it is oh so embarrassing. Nevertheless, she makes a lot of friends, and her clique are called the Sleepaway Girls, hence the title.

Of course, with alllllllll social groups, there's a bully, Ashley, who I hated so, so much throughout the novel. I honestly don't think I've hated an antagonist more than her. She constantly picked on and pranked on Sam, and I was so rooting for Sam to just stand up for herself and get back at her. These moments are very cringeworthy. Ugh, it made me feel so much second-hand embarrassment. 

AND THEN THE ROMANCE? More like I like this really hot (but bad, obviously) guy who's flirting with me, but then this other cute guy likes me. Man, come on now. I'm just glad Sam came to her senses with the first guy, because I could not even handle those parts. It's not like they were doing anything like kissing because these are all 15 year olds (I know, so young, man), but still the parts were uncomfortable (yay for awkward teenagers).

And then everyone was pretty much paired off with another boy who liked them back, because it just happened that way? IS THIS THE REAL LIFE? 

Well, this was definitely a fluffy reads. I felt that there were more uncomfortable, embarrassing moments rather than fluffy moments with Sam and Cole (that cute guy). Although I say that, Sleepaway girls is still a fun and fast read, even though I wanted to stab Ashley all throughout the book. But as I said, this focuses on 15 year olds, and I am 21, and I cannot handle all this awkwardness or the mindset of a teenager that is portrayed here. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What Draws You Into A Book?

Hello my fellow readers and bloggers! Are you ready to do my linguistics homework for me? (Just kidding)

No but actually, the reason I bring up this topic is because I have a syntax paper coming up, and right now I'm brainstorming on a topic. I've played around with the idea of writing in fiction, or more specifically, what kinds of writing draws you into a story, and how is that different from something you didn't like/care about? Does the structure of the sentences have anything to do with it, or does it depend more on relatability, characters, etc. 

Basically, since this is for my linguistics/syntax class, I want to research what kinds of sentences appeal more to readers. And this can most definitely be seen in literature, where there are sentences that you would just NEVER say in speech. 

For example, taken from Grasshopper Jungle:

Robby and I were the gods of concrete rivers, and history does prove to us that wherever boys ride bicycles, paved roadways ribbon along afterward like intestinal tapeworms.

I don't know why this sentence stood out for me today, maybe it was the use of the word "ribbon". But for some reason, it did stand out, and I wonder why.

Hence, due to said final paper, I've decided to conduct a survey about what draws you into a book. Since this is a discussion, I'm not limiting you to just writing style, it can be anything from plot to characters. You're not obligated to help me out, you can just leave me a comment, BUT YOU SHOULD HELP ME OUT BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME. Plus it's an interesting question: Does sentence structure play a role in literature?

I HAVE A SURVEY FOR YOU. It's pretty short, but I guess it kind of involves some thinking, and your favorite quote! IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF YOU COMPLETED IT. Ya know, for me ;)

Of course, feel free to still comment below if you want! This is still an interesting discussion, besides being my paper topic haha.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review: Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Lumatere Chronicles #1
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: April 6th, 2010
Source: Library
Date Read: 2/13/15 to 2/22/15
417 pages
Rating: 1/2

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.

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To be honest, Finnikin of the Rock was much different from what I expected. Like very different. As much as I wanted to love love LOVE this fantasy series, I had a lot of trouble with the "layered" writing (also known as purple prose, I think). But other than that, the plot twist and characters were amazing, amazing enough for me to want to continue the series.

The characters, Finnikin, Evanjalin, and Froi were amazing. I'm excited to see more of Froi in the next book in the series as he makes a life for himself. He changes so much throughout the story, and I pity him for how some of the characters treated him like nothing. So although I'm hoping for too much, but I hope that he has a happier story in his next book. 

Then there's also Evanjalin, who really stood out to me as a strong female lead. She constantly put her life in danger for her homeland, and the lengths she went through really surprised me. Even though she's not like some other badass female characters we see in other fantasy novels, her determination and courage really puts her up there with everyone else. 

As I said, one of my problems was the writing. The writing is something to get used to, and I'm hoping that this will be less of a problem as the series goes on. The main difference between Finnikin of the Rock and other fantasy novels, is how emotions and imagery replace the dialogue. There was much less dialogue than I thought there would be, and that requires much more attention. That, plus the mention of a ton of character names and landmarks, confused me more than I wanted it to. However, saying this, I can see why many people adore the series. This is a sort of writing style that you have to pay a lot of attention to when reading, because when you do, it's very rewarding. 

Yes, so please take my rating with a grain of salt. Oh and also my confusion, because I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I think every single one of my reviews mentions some sort of confusion. I AM JUST ALWAYS CONFUSED. Sorry. 

But seriously, I highly suggest everyone to try this out and form their own opinions, because a lot of readers and bloggers I know LOVE this series.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #47

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List!

I actually think I can manage to read all these books, especially since I've been reading so many books this year! Seriously! 22 books already and it's only March! So yes, I have a huge line up for the spring, and even though I base my choices on the week before, or what's at the library, here's what I have for the spring! 

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop (The Others #2) - I just recently finished Written in Red, and man was that amazing. The series is everything I wanted and more, and it was literally written for me. So duh I will be continuing the series.  

The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey - I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO READ THIS SO BADLY. Ever since I heard of it last year. And I'm happy to say I have an ARC of it haha.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee - I want this. I'm tempted to buy it because I need a March release buy, but I don't know. I think I need to read more reviews to decide. Maybe the library will have it. But still, OREGON TRAIL.

An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - I still want to read this, even though I've read some reviews that it's not as good as expected. But we'll see. I mean I have been anticipating it since 2014.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - I NEED THIS. Now I can finally say that because I finished Throne of Glass. Finally. After all these months of saying I would.

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Ruta Sepetys - I AM SO MAD. This was supposed to be in the New YA section at the library, not checked out, but when I went, it wasn't there. I don't know where it went! It was supposed to be checked in! I am very mad. I literally searched everywhere.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #2) - I finished the first book and I need more in my life. I will buy the second book very, very soon.

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #3) - Also need this too, it's the last book in the trilogy ahhhhhhh. 

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - I recently obtained The Winner's Crime, so I should probably get on this. Then again, Amber and I have a buddy read, so, yes. 

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley - Heyyy I got an ARC of this as well, and I've heard so many bloggers say good things about it so it must be something. 

The chances of me following this TBR is very slim, but oh well. Most of them are new releases too. What's on your list? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nessie Reviews ☆ Museum of Intangible Things

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: April 10th, 2014
Source: Library
Date Read: 2/28/15 to 3/5/15
304 pages

Loyalty. Envy. Obligation. Dreams. Disappointment. Fear. Negligence. Coping. Elation. Lust. Nature. Freedom. Heartbreak. Insouciance. Audacity. Gluttony. Belief. God. Karma. Knowing what you want (there is probably a French word for it). Saying Yes. Destiny. Truth. Devotion. Forgiveness. Life. Happiness (ever after).

Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.

As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness.

The cover of this book lied to me. I picked it up expecting a sort of cute hipstery light read about some girlfriends doing fun stuff on a road trip. Instead I was treated to a story that dealt with bad parents, an alcoholic father, lower-middle class struggles with money, and the toll mental illness can take on a person and their relationships. So be warned, if you pick this up don't be expecting a light-easy read.

I'm not giving anything away when I say that Zoe has bipolar disorder, you find out within the first chapter. And I think, even though it's told from Hannah's point-of-view, that this book is more about Zoe, her disorder, and how it affects their friendship. Hannah and Zoe are pretty much exact opposites. Hannah is firmly rooted in her place in life, and cares about her parents to the extent that she's more or less taking care of them instead of them taking care of her. Zoe on the other hand, possibly due to her manic tendencies, is much more impulsive, confident, and everything Hannah is not.

I really appreciated this book's portrayal of mental illness. It doesn't shy away from the debilitating effects of mental illness, and doesn't try to romanticize it in anyway. We saw Hannah both in her manic and in her depressive phases, and how terrifying both stages can be. Initially it was just little offhand remarks and things that made me aware that it was just there in the background. One example is earlier one after Zoe is coming out of a bad depressive phase, Hannah hugs her and mentally makes a note of being able to feel her collar-bone, alerting her that Zoe was doing that "not eating thing again". As the story goes on and her illness became more important to the story more time was spent exploring it, but I just really appreciated all the little realistic hints that were scattered throughout the story.

I also liked how this book portrayed friendship. Hannah and Zoe are without a doubt the most important person and each other's lives, and the book doesn't just simply tell us that. It SHOWS us it so, so well. And I love how Hannah is understanding of Zoe's illness, and does her best to help her in her own way. However, without giving too much away, there came a point during this road trip that I thought that Hannah was too much of an enabler, and could have done more to help, even if caused Zoe to mad at her. Because this trip started out as a way for them to clear their heads from their crappy town and situations at home, but eventually I began feeling that Hannah should have put her foot down. And this is one of the main reasons I only gave this book 3 stars.

Also theres this side romantic plot line that Hannah has with some dude she's been crushing on since she was like seven and I just didn't see the point in it at all.

He is literally a manic pixie dream boy and I just couldn't stand it. He seems to serve no real purpose other than making Hannah feel better and he's too perfect and bland that it's annoying. And theres a point when Zoe, who's an a severe manic state and is most definitely a danger to herself, goes missing for a bit. AND HANNAH AND HER BOYTOY STOP TO DO THE FRICK-FRACK THE BACK OF THE CAR AND I'M JUST LIKE IS THIS SERIOUSLY THE TIME TO BE DOING THAT???

Ugh. Those were my two main complaints with the book. It's an okay read, I would say read if for its portrayal of friendship and mental illness. It is a good story but just the fact that Hannah couldn't keep it in her pants annoyed the crap out of me. You guys should read this book and tell me what you think about it!
Vanessa is Val's bestest buddy, and she will be guest posting throughout because she loves to read and write. She loves video games, reading comic books, working out LIKE A BEAST and photography. You can also find her at her own blog, Musings of an Aspiring Writer.
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